Monday, May 31, 2010

Visionary Art and Visions

Walking down the winding path of the Ave Maria Grotto with a 6-year-old and 4-year old, it's hard to know which to admire at any moment: the fantastical visions created by the artist monk who labored with humble materials,
or the children envisioning his art made of marbles and shells, fishing balls and concrete, whimsical statues and childlike abandon.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Tunnel, coil, spring: does the name matter?

Why not simply celebrate its beauty!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Spring

Where an arbor once stood,
another spring
unfurls in leaves
of leathery bronze and olive.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just Beyond Reach

At the top of a honeysuckle mass high in an abandoned arbor, five butterflies fluttered, out of reach of my camera -- four Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and one Buckeye.

Half an hour's frustration nets one butterfly photo (this little fellow circled and circled me, alighting briefly on my left breast, just long enough for me to focus completely); one red ant on a daisy; sedum closeups; and several pink roses.

Too cloudy, too late in the afternoon, too light of wing and too dark of shadow, everything stayed just beyond reach, but did not spoil my lovely idyll.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


The world is full of surprises, right at your doorstep. Plastic eyes, for instance. The ones on stuffed animals and toys?

They exist!

Who'd a thunk it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh, the Gaggle

Oh, the gaggle of gossiping house finches.

They come early; they come late.

They come often, and they stay until a crow or jay or cardinal dislodges them, briefly.

Then they come again, only falling dark finally driving them home, still chattering.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spotted Sweet John

or Dianthus superbus bursts into stars, fringed like my favorite cowgirl chaps of childhood.Digging Dog dates dianthus to ancient Romans who called it "Jove's flower," an odd appellation in view of Jove's supreme strength and the frilly froth of superbus. Digging Dog adds, "Its Japanese name, 'Nadesiko,' translates to 'pretty girl' or 'child,' and we couldn't agree more!"Better, but not quite right: for me, fringed cowgirl chaps will do.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Cat in the Bird Bath

spun like laundry in a commercial dryer set on slo-mo, only tail-chasing, licking, purring, finally smiling, then sleeping.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Clapping the Net over the Butterfly of the Moment

"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows; he catches the changes of his mind on the hop."

Vita Sackville-West

Substitute "photograph" for "write," and this has been my day.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Columbine Nora Barlow

Granny's Bonnets,
Columbine Nora Barlow
(honoring Darwin's granddaughter),
Aquilegia vulgaris?
Peppermint pinwheels
spin on Boo's stoop.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pearl or Lily?

Pastel fire marbles
the petals:

pearl or lily?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Betsy's Cards, May 21-27

My weekly trip to the CVS for Betsy's photographs has become a quiet ritual of pleasure and letting go. I know she likes them; she has told me so. Her son-in-law, a professional photographer, has admired some of my shots, on which he has commented. But I am the one who most enjoys the process of choosing and composing, folding and gluing, stamping and addressing. It's a way of letting go while celebrating the world she leaves behind.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chrome Yellow

There are days when only yellow will do.
This was one.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Gift of a Purchase

Sewanee's graduation weekend brings unexpected pleasures, like a comment by a children's book author/illustrator and designer, whom I met in the fall when her senior son was ill. We chatted then, long and enthusiastically about illustration and art and books and bookbinding. Afterwards, she apparently went to Shenanigans and made a purchase -- my H2O, about which I learned this weekend.

To me, she said, "I bought your book. It's beautiful -- the paper, the photographs, the printing!"

"Thank you," I said.

She turned to her husband, "You remember? The lovely little book in the living room? On the coffee table? She made it!"

I am still basking.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Like an Old Silk Scarf

The common yellow iris curls into itself, like a silk scarf abandoned in a drawer, awaiting discovery, or like the hands and feet, marbled with age, of a dying relative.

Its elegance cannot be denied.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Stilt Bug Is Back!

Or else he never left.

Sure enough, despite the night passing and steady rain during the day, there he was, the stilt bug, waving his antennae and bending from side, leaning out over the spent iris. Between 2:15 and 3 this afternoon, we certainly made each other's acquaintance.

Ain't he grand?

(Correction! This is not a stilt bug. It's a Scudder's Katydid nymph!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Suddenly, they're everywhere!

Who's there, hiding in the iris?

The lady bug and the tall weed on which she lingers are both dotted with pollen. I see them, and I can't help thinking about Tinkerbell and her magic fairy dust.I believe.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Growing toward the Sun

Nodding with peonies
the garden shoots
upwards -- pink, red, salmon, yellow
mouths and lips

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lemongrass Tea and Lovely Company

My friend Julie is like spring water: simply refreshing. At her studio sale, Boo and I admired her work, listening to her stories about what inspired it.

Our visit ended with cool lemongrass tea on the porch, briefly interrupted by a neighbor's tale of a black snake coiled in the rafters of her tool shed and of one surviving baby vole in the earth she had just tilled.
Before leaving, Boo and I accepted gifts: she a small work featuring camel, which inspired her story of her husband's discomfort upon riding one, and I a lovely cut-work featuring the comic juxtaposition of a gopher, bird, and small cakes and pink candles.

The gifts are lovely. The gift of friendship precious.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Thing to Do with My Duck Pond Pottery Finds

Small dahlias
pack a punch

into hand-thrown

espresso miniatures,

pulling out
side in.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sewanee Sings Peonies

Sewanee's peonies -- white and pink balls of lace -- lounge in dark leafy clumps along street corners, above the wall at the post office parking lot, in tended gardens, in Abbo's Alley. Mary Oliver calls their buds "fists . . . stroke[d]" by the sun's "old, buttery fingers." Now those fists burst into beautiful puffs of color proclaiming spring.

Oh, the peonies and their exuberant "recklessness."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Soft Focus

The crabapple blooms briefly, perfuming the air, inviting bees, bee flies, butterflies who turn fluttering flowers into a white hubbub of spring.

When the flowers fall, everyone disappears just as quickly as they arrived, and each year my heart breaks a little more.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I use the Internet to make my living, and without Facebook, email, access to the New York Times and Times Picayune (among other favorite sites), and My Daily Snap, I would be cestfallen.

But I would be heartsick without the United States Postal Service. In this regard, I am a troglodyte.

At the moment, I send a daily photo card with message to an elderly friend in hospice, a salve for me in letting go. I also look forward to the unexpected letter in my mailbox, like this one: another Nancy Drew postcard from my great-niece who is now writing with abandon.

She can not only make my day, but my year.